One of the first pieces of advice my friend Rod Brown gave me when I told him that I was going to start HIDE A HEART was “be sure to do the viral networking thing.” At the time I only had a private Facebook page and didn’t think much of the medium. But Rod is a very savvy and successful businessman and I have great respect for his advice.
I have known Rod since he was fifteen. He’s always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Rod is the owner/operator of the very successful MADE TO ORDER company, so when Rod speaks, I pay attention! Rod very kindly spent some time challenging me with questions to help me ‘think through’ starting a new business, but I was not to be deterred!
Included in his counsel was some specific action points which included ‘branding’. Once I figured out a logo, packaging and word-smithed the text used for description, promotion and salutation, and then created the Etsy shop at , I created a HIDE A HEART Facebook Fan page. (BTW ‘figured out’ is a miss-statement—it’s more like a ‘product in progress’, meaning it morphs rather often!)
A really wonderful benefit of being part of the Etsy family is one has access to meeting other Etsians and so it was that after posting a comment in one of the forums I was contacted by Ellen of TurtleTrinkets and was invited to join a ‘group’ where we would all critique each others shops in an effort to learn and improve our ‘visibility’ and ultimately sales..we hoped!
Sheilah of was the group member who brought to all of our attention that we should think about including our shop name and link in every email we send, as one way to promote our shops. Of course! Such a simple and superb idea!
AND, Sheilah told me about LINK LOVE! I think it was very early on when Link Love had just begun, but Sheilah will have to confirm that point.
I run hot and cold on Link Love. It took me about a week of Link Love to realize I needed to create a word doc. with all the links so that I could ‘copy/paste’ otherwise carpal tunnel was going to be fast-tracked in my life! Some days I would look at my inbox and think, “OMGosh…I can’t face it!” Then I would return to spending hours Link Loving like a woman with hair on fire! It’s crossed my mind more than once that it might be a waste of time, but then I remind myself, “You don’t have an advertising budget girl!” and I re-commit myself.
I am a novice biz-woman and in being so, I have anxiety attacks about whether or not I’m doing ENOUGH to get the HIDE A HEART brand out into the world. I once took a week off from Link Love, but then I read a blog post that said you HAD to Link Love and listed all the reasons why and I began to hyperventilate at all the LOST opportunities!
October is the first anniversary of HIDE A HEART and I think I’m beginning to calm down a little about Link Love. After reading several blog posts about Link Love I finally have a ‘Link Love’ schedule…yes, I only spend a couple of hours a day on Link Love, which has proven to be a relief and a much healthier and time-efficient approach, but let me tell you, I think Link Love is a little like moisturizer…you don’t dare stop using moisturizer because what would you look like???? And what would happen if the Google crawlers didn’t see HIDE A HEART at least a few times a day, hence the Link Love Schedule.
Here’s another thing I’ve also learned with Link Love, it’s good to include both your brand name and the name of the Facebook page you are ‘liking’ in the same post…gives you both a little FREE promo.
One more thing. As part of Link Love you will be ‘following’ blogs and now I have a list of blogs that I have saved in my Favorites list. I check back periodically to see what blog authors are posting through my Google Reader. Today I found this post by the wonderful Kimi of GrahtoeStudio.
Whenever a blog or anyone on FB, or an article mentions your brand or an Etsy Treasury features one of your products, you have just received the highest compliment so be sure to show gratitude by publicly, and if possible privately, thanking the author.
Additionally, realize you have just been handed a fantastic opportunity for ‘cross-promotion’ gratis! Which is what I have done by including Kimi’s post in the HIDE A HEART blog. Because Kimi’s blog site has FB, Twitter, Email and other buttons it made it easy for me to link her post to my FB home page and the HIDE A HEART INSPIRES EXPRESSION blog on ‘Bloggers’ —is that a lot of blog or what?—I’m just saying, cross-promotion, to borrow a coined phrase from the diva of home crafting Marth Stewart, ” is a very good thing.”
And best of all, two days ago I ‘liked’ Roslyn Barbulescu page and she sent me a private message that she really loved HIDE A HEART and had posted information on her home page! Then, upon near immediacy one of Roslyn’s friends ordered a HIDE A HEART!!!
Borrowing the idea to include FB and Link Love Stats from Runaway Crochet here are the FB and Link Love Stats Start Date: February 14, 2010
FB Fans: 5 Today, Sept. 5, 2010 : 1085 Etsy Hearts: 20 Today: 260
Etsy Sales before Link Love: 5 Today: 30
So, if you think LINK LOVE is a waste of time….think NO MORE!
Here is an additional list of appreciation for other blogs, FB, Twitter or Articles who have mentioned HIDE A HEART since posting this article.*******
Thank you Rae of Laughing Lane Studios!